Melanie VanHouten, founder 1979

Melanie VanHouten, founder of JSP. This photo was taken in 1979 at the VanHouten family farm, which Melanie transformed into Josephine Sculpture Park in 2009.

The history of Josephine Sculpture Park goes way back, even though the park proper didn’t open to the public until Sep. 27, 2009. How can that be? Well, I grew up on this farm; it belonged to my grandparents and I spent days on end exploring these sheds, running the fields and fishin’ in the old ponds. I have always been inspired by this place, and I have always made art out here, only as a kid I didn’t know it as art, I knew it as play. This farm was magical and my imagination grew alongside my creativity, my curiosity and my connection to and respect of the land and all that grows from it. My grandmother, for whom the park is named was one of my biggest fans. She encouraged me to believe in myself and to follow my dreams, and from the very first notion of this park’s existence, we wanted to honor her and for this park to be her legacy. We hope that JSP will continue to be a fantastical place that encourages kids of all ages to believe in and follow their dreams; we hope they dream big and that they grow up and make our world a better place.


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